Bankers, particularly managers, have been urged to eschew extravagant lifestyles and live within their means to avoid embezzlement of people’s funds.
The Krontihene of Sunyani Traditional Area, Nana Oboaman Bofotia Boaponsem II, who made the call said it is worrisome that some bankers have adopted extravagant living that portrays them as the wealthiest among their peers in society – thus giving the public impetus to put before them excessive demands which eventually compel them to spend beyond their purse.
He said: “In the wake of the banking crisis, lifestyles like the craze for luxurious vehicles, uncompromising appetite for expensive costumes, and construction of buildings within short periods by some bankers will obviously trigger public suspicion about their wealth. Bankers must therefore see themselves as just managers of people’s funds, not billionaires, and live moderate life”.
The chief made the assertion when he represented the Paramount Chief of Sunyani, Nana Bosoma Aso Nkrawiri II, as the guest-speaker at the 18th Annual National Managers’ conference of the rural and community banks (RCBs) held in Sunyani. The theme for the conference was ‘Sustaining Rural and Community Banking through Digitalisation’.
The chief observed that in as much as the banking sector clean-up was a necessary evil to restore much-needed confidence in the banking space, it behoves the Bank of Ghana and other regulatory institutions to step-up supervisory roles to avoid similar situations in future, so that stakeholders will not suffer impacts of such magnitude.
“If you create a mess and you try to clean the mess, you’ve virtually done nothing. What we currently need is that regulators do more to assure the public so the existing banks and other financial institutions are well-grounded to offer the best options of banking services; especially provision of credit to small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), which represent the bulk of the country’s business community.
“It is important for the BoG to give regular information and updates to customers and the general public on critical steps and activities being undertaken in the sector. This will ensure that we do not wake up one day to realise that the actions which led us to where we were two years ago have revisited us. Of course, when customers and members of the entire public are sure that their deposits are well-protected they will keep their funds with the banks,” said the Sunyani Krontihene.
Nana Boaponsem urged the public to refrain from peddling falsehood about banks and other financial institutions, especially on social media, to avoid unwarranted and sporadic panic-withdrawals. He also appealed for the central bank to do more in assuring the general public and investor community that the remaining banks in the country are safe to trade with.
He also entreated RCBs to prioritise quality and value-added services as means of fortifying their sustainability, amid the keen competition and evolution in the ever-growing banking space.
“The era when rural bankers thought that their services only mattered to rural folks and the uneducated population is over. We are now living in a borderless society, where everything we do in our operational territory has ramifications for people who do not even have the privilege to interact with us physically. The advent of social media has complicated the situation even more; if RCBs are to survive the test of time, then there is only one choice – and that is the provision of quality and value-added services,” he stated.